ECONOMYNEXT – Five Sri Lankans were arrested on Saturday (29) by the Narcotics Division of the Sri Lanka Customs for attempting to smuggle foreign currency out of the country, a statement from the Customs Union said.
Sri Lanka is currently in the middle of one of the worst economic crises in the country’s history, compounded by a crippling foreign exchange shortage amid double-digit inflation after excessive money printing.
The five suspects were interrogated by the customs officials last night while attempting to board the EK-649 flight from Emirates Airlines to Dubai, UAE. Further investigations revealed a stash of foreign currency worth 25 million rupees hidden in the luggage.
The stash consisted of 95,000 US dollars, 18,000 Euros and 37,000 Saudi Riyals.
According to the Government Information Center website, any person can carry foreign currency worth up to 10,000 USD “in any form” out of the country. However, if the sum of money in currency notes exceed 5,000 USD, the entirety of the sum must be declared.
There is no limit to how much foreign currency one can bring into the country, but if the sum exceeds 15,000 USD, it must be declared to Customs.
Amid Sri Lanka’s worsening forex crisis, authorities are cracking down on individuals involved in currency smuggling and similar schemes, officials said.
In a related incident on January 20, Customs arrested five suspects for the attempted smuggling of foreign currency worth 42 million rupees to Dubai, UAE. The currency consisted of 22,300 US dollars, 63,500 Euros, 292,000 Saudi Riyals, 8,725 Sterling Pounds and 75,000 UAE Dirhams hidden inside luggage.
Investigations are under way into both incidents, Customs officials said. (Colombo/Jan30/2022)